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- Saturday, March 23, 2013 - From Print Edition

We have been haunted by the issue of forged and faked educational degrees for months. There have been ministers and parliamentarians who have claimed their certifications come from colleges that simply do not exist or else their papers have been identified as fabricated in one way or the other. The way our political representatives look at this issue was clearly reflected in the way Balochistan’s former CM Raisani spoke about degrees some time back – claiming a degree is a degree, whether real or fake. And it seems this problem is not going to go away any time soon, as we head towards polls and prepare to elect a new government.

The outgoing education minister Sheikh Waqas Akram has been found, after a long and detailed investigation by this newspaper, to have very possibly not even completed his intermediate degree qualification. This, of course, puts his BA degree under shadow. Akram, previously a member of the PML-Q, has recently joined the PML-N. He has a history of party hopping, and apart from this he also seems to have considerable expertise in manipulating the system to remain in the assembly without the required educational qualifications. When challenged about his FA degree, Sheikh Waqas Akram claimed that he had in fact done his ‘A’ levels. However, The News has been informed in a letter from Cambridge University that it can find no record of this accomplishment in its files. Unless Sheikh Waqas can produce other evidence to show he did indeed complete this examination, his political career is at stake. His elaborate attempts to cover a trail of deceit by obtaining forged verifications of his foreign certification from local boards only add to the problems, and technically disqualify him under the constitution from sitting in the assembly. As the polls draw nearer and tickets are awarded, the PML-N’s handling of the matter will be watched very closely. In the past the party has been adamant that foul play over the degree issue be punished. We will now need to see if it is ready to take action on its own against the new entrant in its ranks who, it appears, even as education minister – ironically enough – has been hanging on to a whole sheaf of fake educational documentations. How unfortunate that an education minister with fake educational credentials was in control and is still trying to stay in the system. The ECP must take immediate note.

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